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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: July 2006
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Genesis 1
Inflatable space module launches
(Jul 14, 2006)


An inflatable spacecraft that could form the basis of a future space hotel has blasted into space. The Genesis craft has been built by commercial company Bigelow Aerospace, set up by hotel tycoon Robert Bigelow. The folded experimental module launched from Siberia on a converted Russian intercontinental ballistic missile.

Read more. Source: BBC

Discovery astronauts on space walk
Astronauts finish final spacewalk
(Jul 13, 2006)


Astronauts on space shuttle Discovery have completed the third and final spacewalk of the current mission. Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum headed outside on Wednesday to practise repair techniques for the ship's heat shield. They were testing a sealant for fixing cracks in wing panels which must be able to survive searing temperatures when the shuttle returns to Earth.

Read more. Source: BBC

inflatable space station
Model of inflatable space hotel set to launch
(Jul 12, 2006)


An inflatable spacecraft designed to test technology for a future space hotel is to be launched from Russia on Wednesday. "Everything is on track and scheduled for launch," Robert Bigelow told New Scientist in a prepared statement. Bigelow is the founder of Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, which is behind the inflatable test vehicle. Called Genesis I, it is set to launch from Russia's Dombarovsky missile base in Siberia.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Jets of matter, shown here in pink, stream from a pair of supermassive black holes in the galaxy cluster Abell 400 (X-ray image: NASA/CXC/AlfA/D Hudson and T Reiprich et al; Radio image: NRAO/VLA/NRL)
Earliest black holes bent the 'laws' of physics
(Jul 12, 2006)


Black holes in the early universe may have circumvented a law of physics to grow rapidly to colossal size. The finding could solve a longstanding puzzle over why such massive objects appeared so soon after the universe began. The new analysis, by Marta Volonteri and Martin Rees, both at the University of Cambridge, ties up all the important factors involved in the growth of a black hole and concludes rapid growth is possible.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

spacewalk from ISS on Jul. 10, 2006
High drama spacewalk ends in success
(Jul 11, 2006)


In a high-drama spacewalk on Monday, a pair of NASA astronauts overcame an issue with a loose jet pack to make crucial repairs to the International Space Station. The jet packs are designed to whisk astronauts back to safety should they float away from the ISS and into space. But once Mike Fossum had helped his partner Piers Sellers secure the jet pack, the two completed their work preparing the ISS for the expansion planned during future shuttle missions.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

GSLV failure after liftoff
Key Indian satellite launch fails
(Jul 11, 2006)


The launch of India's heaviest communications satellite has failed after the rocket carrying it (a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) veered off course and exploded. The Insat-4C satellite weighed more than 2,000kg and was expected to significantly enhance India's telephone and business communications.

Read more. Source: BBC

Space Shuttle heatshield
Space shuttle cleared for return
(Jul 10, 2006)


The Discovery space shuttle has been cleared for re-entry to Earth next week after NASA officials gave its heat shield a clean bill of health. Analysts at mission control in Houston had spent days looking at images for possible damage caused by Tuesday's lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. But they said several nicks and spots seen were no cause for alarm.

Read more. Source: BBC

mini solar system sphere
Mini solar system could reveal hidden dimensions
(Jul 9, 2006)


A tiny, artificial solar system could reveal hidden spatial dimensions and test alternative theories of gravity, a new study suggests. If the system's "planets" moved slightly differently than expected from standard gravity, it would signal the presence of new physical phenomena – which have proven very difficult to test.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Discovery flipped over to view tiles
Discovery docks after 'backflip'
(Jul 7, 2006)


The space shuttle Discovery has docked with the International Space Station (ISS) after a two-day trip from Earth. It arrived at the orbital outpost at 1052 EDT (1452 GMT), and the hatches between the two craft were opened around 100 minutes later. Discovery performed a "backflip" before docking so the ISS crew could inspect the ceramic tiles on its underbelly.

Read more. Source: BBC

neutron star 1E161348-5055
Bizarre neutron star is old before its time
(Jul 6, 2006)


A neutron star that behaves like it is millions of years old but was born just 2000 years ago has scientists scratching their heads. Neutron stars are super-dense spheres of neutrons left over after massive stars die in supernova explosions. They weigh about as much as the Sun, but are just one or two dozen kilometres wide.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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